“Condition of Use: The SHTF and WROL scenarios are common place; there is no capability for recognized ‘first responders’ to nullify the threat to your NPA (Neighborhood Protection Area) or keep you and your ‘precious cargo’ safe. You are on your own.
NPT Scenario: So, you’ve been diligent about getting a NPT established and trained before SHTF/WROL occurred (or even after, before things got really dicey with the associated steep learning curve), have been doing extensive reconnaissance, and have determined that a significant (you judge on what ‘significant’ means) number of MZB’s mean to come and raid your small, secure NPA for whatever staples you have. All first response entities that are out there are busy taking care of their own families and won’t respond (think police, fire, and ambulance response during Katrina).
Your reconnaissance team(s) has/have been out several times in the last few days, and they keep coming back with indications that you’ve been being reconned from without. There are definite signs you’re little NPA is being targeted by MZB’s.”
In Parts I & II, we looked at the Concepts and Principles of an ambush, it’s definition, the common elements of all ambushes, various categories as well as some of the skills required to successfully perform the task. In this installment, we’ll describe the basic composition of the ambush team and some useful formations. A note on formations: There is no limit to the formations an imaginative NPT leader or team can come up with for an ambush. Limitations are entirely dependent upon the available terrain, number of team members, weapons available, purpose, target, and not the least of which, the audacity of the NPT leader.
Let’s start with team composition. Baseline fact: There is no room in an ambush team for non-team players. Everyone is dependent upon everyone else in the team to successfully complete the mission and return to the NPA alive. If you have folks in your NPT that have a hard time taking direction, it might not be the best choice to include them on one of these teams until such time, if any, they demonstrate the capability of following direction.
The most basic ambush team is the single shooter, or, ‘lone gunman.’ He can be very effective if the task is to delay or disrupt, he’s very good at camouflage, marksmanship, can operate on his own (meaning he can subsist without support), isn’t prone to panic, and does not let himself get enveloped (aka ‘surrounded’), and if finding himself in that position, does as much damage to the MZB’s as possible before being taken. It should be a matter of course that this individual has been highly trained in navigation, precision (as much as is feasible with his weapon) marksmanship, fire discipline, camouflage and concealment, is highly fit and can carry what he needs.
Small teams of up to four people can do wonders performing ambush, but they must all be highly trained as described above, and have the ability to work individually, in two man teams, and as a single unit. Further, they should have a chain of command and be used to following plans, directions, mission intent, and submit themselves to the team leader.
Beyond the one man team, in larger ambush teams of at least 11 people, there are three elements: Command (CE), Assault (AE), and Security (SE).
The CE has the team commander, primary communications team member, medic, and any ‘observers’ that may be along for a variety of reasons.
The AE is made up of the people who will perform the ambush once on site. The AE is further broken down into the primary assault team (PAT), the support team (SPT), and any ‘special task’ team (ST) such as prisoner handlers and others. The primary tasks of the three sub teams are:
- PAT: The team that does the primary shooting and killing of the MZB’s.
- SPT: Provides fire support for the PAT with belt fed weapons (if possible) or highly accurate and fast designated marksman fire.
- ST: Prevents MZB escape by providing flank security and protects the rear of the PAT and SPT during the ambush and will cover the withdrawal of both the PAT and SPT sub-elements after the ambush is concluded.
The graphics below provide a good idea of what some of the teams will be occupied with while setting up and conducted a linear ambush. In the first case, the command element will have the Assistant Team Leader at the rear of the PAT along with the team medic or any observers present. The SPT will be interspersed in the PAT, and the ST’s will be deployed to protect both flanks and the rear of the Rally Point and PAT. In the second case, the SPT will be divided with the PAT, and the ST’s will be deployed to protect both flanks and the rear of both PATs.
An essential task to note is the required complete security of the selected ambush site until such time the ambush is initiated by the Ambush Team Leader or a man trap, such as an IED either passively or actively controlled. The ambush cannot be detected at all prior to initiation; if it is, the mission is a failure, and the team must withdraw as quickly as possible and elude any pursuers. Complete security is achieved when the ambush is set and its presence cannot be detected by the MZB’s passing through until it’s sprung. All around security must, without fail, be maintained by the ST. The following graphic demonstrates the security teams getting into position before anyone else.
If the ambush team is surprised by a flank or rear attack, the mission is a failure and the lives of the ambush team will be in jeopardy. Some have said, and I agree, the Security Team is the most important element on the Ambush Team, for without them doing their job extremely well, chances of the Ambush team making it home are slim. Last note: Any non-combatants that stumble on the ambush site are detained until after the ambush and then released after all elements have withdrawn.
It should be noted that to get to and from the selected ambush site, the team will need to employ effective patrolling techniques that utilize individual and team movement skills.
As to formations, simply do a Google search for ‘ambush formations’ to come up with hundreds of graphics that can be adapted to your particular NPT’s training needs. It doesn’t matter if you are urban, suburban, or rural, the same techniques can be employed. All that is necessary is for your team to practice them ‘dry’ (without firing a shot). Here are a few examples:
Again, this series is to familiarize you with the ambush. The descriptions and graphics can only familiarize you with the subject. Ideally, you should seek the guidance of a subject matter expert and have them train your NPT. Following that, you might consider attending various schools that offer training in this area and then return to train your people. Once they’re taken through at a ‘walk through,’ you’re going to have to repeat what you’ve learned over and over and over until it becomes second nature. That means you must practice….a LOT. You should also practice, over and over, moving into position, camouflaging individual and team positions, searching bodies in the kill zone post ambush, silent withdrawal, emergency withdrawal, Object Rally Point (ORP) establishment, entry, exit, withdrawal, and so forth.
Conducting an effective ambush is not something one may accomplish without some serious preparation. These preparations must also take place in the climate and environment (as closely as possible) that your NPT will perform this task. Think it’s hard in the summer time? Try winter. A whole new series of issues surface, but it can be accomplished.